Saturday, June 15, 2019

Oswald West Bikes to Depot, Apprehends Forger

Note leaning bikes, 1891 (Salem Library Historic Photos)

January 29th, 1895
Incidental to some other research, came across an amusing anecdote about Oswald West in 1895 when he was working at Ladd & Bush, much before he was Governor. At this time bikes were high-status, leading-edge transportation technology.
Another Forger Caught

Was Leaving the City With His Coin When Arrested

This afternoon, about 1:15, a tall, smooth-faced young man, wearing a dark brown overcoat and a black crush hat, walked into Bush's bank and presented a check for some $80, signed by Leo Willis. Cashier Oswald West questioned the man before cashing the check, but the forger seemed honest, replying that West could look up the signature if he desired.

The check was cashed, but no sooner had the forger passed out the door when West ran straight for Leo Willis' office [probably in the Reed Opera House], where he learned that it was a forgery. Hastening back to the bank he met Andy Coss, whose services he secured, and they went immediately to the depot on their bicycles, arriving just before the train reached the depot.

West pointed out the forger to Coss just as he was going aboard the train and they both seized the man. He offered considerable resistance at first, but was soon under control and marched to the county jail. Upon being searched, $2[hundred something] was found on his person, $255 of which was gold. Besides this amount he had eight checks already made out and endorsed by Salem business men but had not signed them. He also had the signatures of a number of Salem gentlemen, among whom were Father White and Ben Hayden....[text is increasingly garbled]
Old Depot from 12th/13th side, circa 1889
(Salem Library Historic Photos, misdated to 1920,
but clearly related to this image labeled 1889.
See also this image and this image
with baggage end we see today fully restored.)